Nim sat drawing. The rest of the family was still asleep. It had taken Jo a while to calm down the previous evening. If he was honest, it had taken him a while too. He hadn’t seen Scott trying to kiss her, just him hitting her. He probably would have roasted him if he had. It was why he was awake now. He’d gotten up to feed Kory and then couldn’t go back to sleep. He couldn’t get it out of his head. He decided to create a detailed drawing to see if the focus needed would help.
There was a knock at the door and one of the servants answered it.
“Master Kevin, welcome home,” The servant said. He showed Kevin into the room Nim was using. “Master Kevin, this is Ms. Joanne’s husband, Master Nimitinas.
Nim stood, towering over Kevin and the woman with him. “Call me Nim,” He offered.
“Thanks. This is my fiancé, Sarah. Don’t tell my parents. They don’t know we’re engaged yet.” He grinned. “We wanted to tell them together.”
Nim nodded. “Congratulations.”
“What are you drawing?” Sarah asked.
“A friend and his family.” Nim showed them the picture. He usually didn’t like to show off half done work, but he didn’t want to seem rude.
“He looks like an elf,” Sarah said. “Are they into ren-fairs and stuff?”
Nim frowned at the unknown term. “Ren-fairs?”
“Renaissance fairs. People dress up in old-fashioned clothing and do things like they did back then, kind of a reenactment. Some people dress up like elves or fairies and things. I had a friend that enjoyed them.”
“Actually, he really looks like that,” Nim said.
“Who looks like what?” Jo asked, coming in. She stopped. “Kevin?” She hugged her brother.
“Sarah?” She grinned.
“Jo?” Sarah grinned too. Then they hugged.
“You two know each other?” Kevin guessed.
“We went to school together,” Jo explained.
“She was the one that fixed me up with that Andy I was telling you about,” Sarah added.
“Andy Mathis?” Nim asked, looking between Jo and Sarah.
“Do you know him too?” Sarah asked. “I haven’t seen him in years.”
“He married a friend of mine. That’s how Jo and I met.”
“Their wedding was our first date,” Jo explained.
“He got married? Good. He was so messed up after his sister died.”
“He’s been married seven years and has a little girl. Nim, do you have a picture?”
Nim nodded and pulled out a picture from his drawing case.
“Oh, she’s cute.” Sarah smiled. “I pity her when guys start showing interest in her, though.”
“Why?” Kevin asked.
“Andy’s dad is some big shot lawyer in Colorado. When his sister was still alive, Andy would call her boyfriends and tell them, if they slept with her, their dad would sue them,” Sarah explained.
Kevin laughed. “Did he really?”
“Several times,” Jo assured him. “And he once said whenever his daughters brought home a guy, he would be there sharpening his knives.”
Nim could see him doing that. But with Cari being a princess and the daughter of a white wyrm, it was doubtful any boy would mistreat her.
“How’s his mom?” Sarah asked.
“Sober seven years now. She was in counseling for a bit and is doing well. She and Steve got back together then too.”
Sarah raised an eyebrow. “They were separated?”
“Didn’t you hear? After Chrissy’s death, Carla had a hard time and started drinking even more. Steve couldn’t handle it so he left. But they’re back together now.”
Sarah looked a little guilty. Her breakup with Andy had been the catalyst for Andy’s problems that led to him sleeping with Chrissy’s friend which led to their death.
Jo turned to Kevin. “Steve owns the law firms Dad uses. He’s the one Dad used to talk about when he would go to Colorado.”
“Really? And this Andy that you both dated is his son?”
“And he’s married to a friend of yours?” He looked at Nim.
“Isn’t that awkward?”
“Nah, we’ve always been friends.” Jo shrugged. “Things were never serious between us. Dad’s got a picture of Andy’s family on his computer. He took it for Steve and Carla, but you know Dad, He never erases anything,” Jo said.
“You think he’d mind if we look?” Sarah asked.
“No. I’ve used it some already,” Jo assured her. “He said we can use it whenever.” Jo loaded up the picture.
“Holy cow. That is a big family.”
“How many is that?” Kevin asked.
“Thirty-three,” Nim said. “Ann’s birth father couldn’t take care of her when her mother died, so she was adopted. He’s now back in her life. This includes relatives from both families. One of her aunts was out of town, and none of her nieces and nephews were there.”
“That’s one big family.”
“It also doesn’t include any of Andy’s family aside from his parents,” Jo added.
“I didn’t think he had much other family,” Sarah said.
“He has three half-siblings and a nephew.”
“His birth father had been married and had three kids. He didn’t find out about it until a few years ago.” Jo explained.
“That is one huge family,” Sarah said again.
“What’s with some of their eyes?” Kevin asked, squinting at the picture.
“Who? These three?” Jo used the cursor to circle Shunati and his family.
“And him.” Kevin pointed to Ruzi.
Jo zoomed in on them.
“Their eyes are multicolored,” Kevin said.
“They’re contacts,” Sarah decided.
“On a little kid?”
“They’re elves,” Jo explained. “Look closely at Shunati’s ear.” She zoomed in as much as she could before it blurred.
“No, this is makeup. Look how they’re all dressed. This is for some ren-fair,” Sarah insisted.
“No. They’re elves. And these here are dragons in alternate form.”
“Dragons?” Sarah laughed. “There’s no such thing as elves and those are not dragons.”
Nim let out a growl. “I beg to differ.”
“Do the face thing,” Jared said from behind them.
They jumped and turned. “Face thing?” Kevin asked.
“Oh, no.” Jo looked away.
“Just for a moment. Jo doesn’t like it,” Nim explained.
He allowed both his face and hands to turn to dragon form. “I can’t completely change in here. There’s not enough room.”
He took human form again. “You can look now,” he told his wife.
“That is just wrong,” Jo said. “Half-and-half.” She shuddered.
“It is a little strange,” Sarah agreed.
“You married a lizard?” Kevin teased.
Nim growled again.
“Nim, he’s joking,” Jo assured him. “We used to tease each other all the time.”
“So is the baby a lizard too? Or did you lay an egg?” Kevin grinned.
“Dragons don’t lay eggs,” Nim insisted.
“Where’s the little guy? Can we see them?” Sarah asked.
“He’s sleeping in the playpen.” Nim pointed.
Sarah went over to them. “Oh, he’s so adorable. How old is he?”
“He’ll be two months on the twenty-eighth,” Jo said.
“He’s only two months old? He’s huge.”
Jo laughed. “You don’t have to tell me.”
“Very. But we both got through it.”
Sarah turned to Jared. “I’m Sarah, by the way. I’m Kevin’s girlfriend, but I used to have classes with Jo.” She offered him a hand.
“I’m Jared, their little brother,” he said as he shook her hand.
“Sorry,” Kevin said. “Jo’s craziness has taken over again.” He grinned.
“Hey.” Jo playfully shoved him.
“Have they always been this bad?” Sarah asked Jared.
Jared shrugged. “I don’t know. Mom disowned Jo when I was little, so I didn’t see her while I was growing up. I barely remembered having a sister when mom finally started talking to her again. And by then, she was living on Torthoc.”
“Is that where you’re from?” Sarah asked Nim.